Today, I had the honor and privilege of sharing my first sermon with the congregation at my Church (Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Glen Rose, Texas). I had went out on faith and told the pastor that I’d like the opportunity to do a sermon for the Church… this being after much prayer asking God if He was sure that was a good idea.
Let me back up a little bit and say… 3-4 years ago, I, nor just about anyone I know would have imagined me standing up in front of a bunch of people talking about Jesus. For several reasons. The first being, I don’t really like being in front of people and being serious about anything. Also, I feel inadequate in sharing anything about God because I look over my life and think I have no business sharing God’s Word with anyone. Next up, is I really don’t think I was in a good standing with God. My life was about me. Not about God. I am ashamed at how I lived my life all the while proclaiming to be a believer. I did believe in God, I believed Jesus died for my sins, but I certainly wasn’t trying to be obedient to him. There weren’t many around me who’d have said “James is a follower of Jesus. You can tell by how he lives his life.”
And, lastly, I fear God. We joke around sometimes among some of the guys in our discipleship group about James 3:1 – That teachers will especially be held accountable. If we stand in front of people and tell them something wrong, and lead them down the wrong path, we will be held accountable for that. It scares me. I want to make sure I’m teaching exactly what God wants me to teach.
I don’t know how long it’s been now, but through a series of events, I realized how I was living was NOT even close to the life Jesus called me to live. The life that I believe every follower of Him is called to. A life of obedience. His last words to people before ascending to heaven was to “make disciples and teach them to obey everything I have commanded”. So, I now try to live my life in obedience to him. I am an utter failure most of the time. But, each day, I learn more how to resist temptation and turn to Him for help me.
Sometimes, I hear people talk about the changes in my life that I’ve made in the last couple of years. Well, I want to be clear that I couldn’t change anything or I would have years earlier. Jesus made a change in me and I just committed all of me to Him. I am more richly blessed than I imagined and it is all because of Him. I am just following His lead and doing what I believe He is calling me to do. It has been quite a journey in spiritual growth and learning to follow God and ignore my own hesitations. My life is better because I am following his lead. My relationships with my children are better. My relationship with my wife is better.
I am thankful for many of my friends who have been a source of encouragement in my faith, and my spiritual growth. Many of them have been there for me in the last couple of weeks as I prepared this message today. Looking over my notes for me. Giving me advice on how to improve the message. So, for these friends, I am grateful. Thank you to Joe, Randy, Tommy, Phillip, and several others for our encouragement! You guys are awesome!
I am thankful for the Church leadership where I attend. Those guys not only went out on a limb to let a young, many times sarcastic, and sometimes says things without thinking first, guy present a message to the folks who are under their spiritual charge, but they also took the time to go into a room with me this morning and pray for me. It helped tremendously. I will always remember their spirits in helping me with that part of the preparation. I know many others were praying for me this morning before I stood up there.
As I sit here tonight, absorbing my day, as many of us introverts (INTJ) folks do.. I am so humbled by this experience. I don’t deserve to be able to stand in front of people and talk about Jesus. God has brought me so far from my comfort zone and I am truly thankful for that. It was an answered prayer.. because I was comfortable for too long. If I get too comfortable, I might not be willing to get up and stand for Christ.
With all that, some have asked if I would record my first message. I did. I will put a link below for those that want to listen. I pray that Jesus touches you through something that He put on my heart to say. I truly love whoever is reading this and want to share how much Jesus loves you. I will put a link to download notes also to help you follow along.
Before listening to me, I’d highly suggest watching the video that I played for the Church before I started. Here’s the video:
Here’s the link to listen to me: My first sermon